Employment in social care in Europe
In the context of an ageing population and increasing demand for care services in the EU, there is growing concern about the supply of suitably qualified care workers. Low pay, low status, and high rates of turnover and burnout make it difficult to attract workers to the care sector and keep them in their jobs.
In light of the concerns about the supply of care workers to meet current demands and future needs, the Foundation launched a project entitled ‘Employment in social care in Europe’.
- the care sector is economically very significant, offering job opportunities for a high proportion of the workforce
- as the provision of care is both formal and informal, policy must address this dual approach
- many caring activities are undeclared, which jeopardises both the quality of care and the working conditions of many informal carers
- the care sector workforce is ageing, creating a specific need for improved working conditions and new recruits
- quality assurance is one of the major stepping stones to improve the financial viability of care
- in most EU15 Member States, demand for care services exceeds the supply of resources available, particularly in terms of the labour supply. In some of the NMS and acceding countries, labour supply may exceed demand, but only in the short term. In the longer term, a pattern similar to that in the old MS will emerge
- policies aimed at reducing the need for care are developed in many countries and are important for reducing pressure on the labour force.
National policymakers need to develop strategies to reduce the financial burden on their social provision systems. In line with the overall need for more personalized services, the move to more informal care provision seems inevitable. Thus, supporting informal care either through financial incentives or through support services will be one of the major challenges in the coming years.
Related areas of work
Health and care in an enlarged Europe – results of Eurobarometer analysis
Family care of the elderly
The health and social services sector - what future? (EMCC Sector Futures)